EVERY morning that I am at Westminster, I walk past the Emmeline Pankhurst memorial in Victoria Tower gardens on my way into work.

Set back from the hustle of Millbank, it is a daily reminder of the sacrifices made by women in the name of equal rights.

Remarkably, it is also the only monument of an influential woman in the shadow of Parliament.

That will change in April when the statute of Millicent Fawcett is unveiled on Parliament Square. Both Pankhurst and Fawcett are well known for their leading role in the campaign to secure votes for women, spearheading the suffragette and suffragist movements.

On February 5, we marked the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, a landmark piece of legislation in its provision to give some women the vote for the very first time.

The mood was celebratory at Westminster 100 years on.

Special events were held throughout the day, including a reception with the Prime Minister in Westminster Hall, a stone’s throw from the broom cupboard where Emily Wilding Davison hid during the night of the 1911 census.

The Government has made £5 million available to support projects marking the centenary throughout the year. In the next few days, I will be writing to local community groups to encourage them to organise their own 'EqualiTea' parties between June 18 and July 2 (equaliteas.org.uk).

I have no doubt that Pankhurst and Fawcett would be proud of the progress we have made since their crusade at the turn of the 20th century.

In last year’s election, women made up a record 29 per cent of candidates; locally, half of Oxfordshire’s MPs are female.

The current Parliament is the most diverse in British history.

Yet more must be done to remove the barriers preventing women entering politics, including at a local level.

Further afield, the idea of an equal vote – a fundamental human right – is still not recognised universally.

In some countries, women continue to be seen as inferior with no access to democracy, education or basic choice.

100 years on, tolerance, respect and equal rights should be a given, not something we still have to fight for.